Having an external hard drive has quite a number of good benefits. You may not be to happy having your information stored on the cloud, or want the extra protection of having it not just stored on your PC or laptop. This also helps in speeding up your PC by clearing out data that you need, but not on a daily basis.
If so, you may want to look into getting a decent cheap portable hard drive. There's many out their but we'll just give you a few pointers in to what the terminology means and what some of the better features are.
So when shopping for a cheap portable hard drive ask yourself a few questions. What's the main purpose? How much space do you require, taking in to account that you may want more in the future? How often will you be using it to back up your PC or laptop? Lastly, will you be making the portable hard drive portable? If you plan on taking it with you, you may want to consider optioning for a lighter model. Although, these are more expensive.
Hard Drive Storage Size The storage size of external hard drives can be as much as 16TB. We think this is a little overkill and very few people will ever need anything nears as much as this. When you consider that the average computer has a built in hard drive of around 500GB to 1TB. If you are looking for an external storage device for just a few photos and some files then you may wish to consider getting a cheap USB memory stick, or flash drive. These are small USB sticks that can be attached to a key ring and always come in handy. That being said, if you still need a cheap external hard drive, then we feel anything from 1TB to 2TB will be more than enough. This will store many HD videos and loads of music, photos and important files.
Data Transfer Speed If backing up your data isn't something you do regularly, so once a month for example, then most external hard drives will do the job perfectly. If, however you have really large files, like HD films, that you transfer regularly, you might want to look for a cheap portable hard drive that does this at a quicker speed. So this means you want to be looking for a portable hard drive with a USB 3.0 interface. 2.0 USB is still very common and isn't slow by any means, but the newer generation are faster at transferring data, so worth looking at if you'll be doing loads of back ups. Bear in mind though, that you'll need a 3.0 port on your computer or laptop to run a 3.0 interface on your external hard drive. There are some other types of file transfer external hard drives, but these are expensive, and also not as quick as 3rd generation external hard drives. These are eSATA, FireWire and also Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt is Apple and Intel collaboration and is the fastest file transfer that is out there. It works at 10Mbps, but be warned, it is by no means a cheap portable hard drive.
Portability For the most part, most people will not be to bothered about getting the lightest external hard drive that they can get there hands on, as they'll more than likely be backing up their important data and storing it in their home. If you will be taking the portable hard drive out and about with you, then you might want to for one that is lighter in weight. You will also wish to consider the durability of the hard drive. You don't want to drop it and loose everything on it. So with this in mind, it would be wise to look for a rugged external hard drive with a case. You can even get a waterproof portable hard drive. These are more expensive though. So only really worth it if you do go out and about with it often. If you'll be using it a lot, you may wish to think about getting a built in fan, and the option of using it with a separate power source. This will help when doing bigger file transfers.
Security If you plan on storing sensitive data on your external hard drive then it's defiantly worth shopping for a cheap portable hard drive that comes with a certain level of encryption. This is even more important if you do plan on going out and about with the external hard drive. Most will have some basic level on encryption, but for better levels, you'll be paying more.
Usability If you're not the most tech savvy of people, then we would recommend you consider buying a portable hard drive that has some built in software so it's easier to set up on your PC. If you are fairly computer literate, this isn't something to get to bothered about.
Compatibility What type of device you want to be backing up makes a difference too. If you are on a PC, or a MAC, this makes a difference and you want to make sure that the portable hard drive you buy is compatible with what device you're using.
Shopping for the Best External Hard Drive Deals
Take your time to decide what you're after in a portable hard drive and that also spend some time looking on the internet to give you an idea of what budget you need to get all the features that you want. A 4TB 3.0 portable hard drive should set you back around £100-£200. For this you should get some decent transfer speed and 4TB is loads of space. For a similar spec external hard drive that can handle being bashed and dropped a little then you can expect to pay around £200-£300. As you can see, portable hard drives aren't the cheapest of things. This is why it pays to shop for a good sale on hard drives. Getting one of these for a discount, or in a sale is a good way of getting good value for money on a external hard drive.